The Transformers #2
Marvel Comics (November, 1984)PLOT: Bill Mantlo SCRIPT: Jim Salicrup PENCILER: Frank Springer INKER: Kim DeMulder LETTERER: Janice Chiang COLORIST: Nel Yomtov EDITOR: Bob Budiansky
The Decepticons raid a newly constructed nuclear power plant. Meanwhile, Buster convinces Sparkplug to repair Bumblebee, who tells the duo about the Autobots and Decepticons. Sparkplug agrees to help the Autobots convert Earth fuel into Transformer-friendly fuel but Ravage overhears Buster telling his friends about this. The Decepticons mount an attack to kidnap Sparkplug and the Autobots are too low on fuel to stop them.
What they got right: I’ve always been in favor of the Autobots making friends with humans who can actually help them. The Decepticons are back on the hill they were on just before the drive-in launching the attack they halted to stop the Autobots from getting allies.
What they got wrong: The biggest one to me is of course the fact that Bumblebee looks nothing like the toy at all. He transforms in the opposite direction and his robot form bears no resemblance. Since this was the last issue before the decree to use the cartoon models as guides for the artists, it would have been the last time Bumblebee would look like his toy. This happened in #1 and one splash page in #16. Kind of disappointing. The biggest criticism from a critic’s POV, however, is Ravage. How did he happen to be in the right spot and recognize Jessie and “O” considering how little opportunity he had to observe them. Also, why is Soundwave purple? Finally, Sparkplug is an auto mechanic. How would he be able to convert fuel? I don’t think he even went to college.
Other notes: One thing I’m noticing is how much Mantlo last issue and Mantlo and Salicrup this issue has characters all but read off from their tech specs. It does help give them personality considering how little storytime they have to give these characters a personality (and even then they don’t always succeed). This goes double for the “introductions” scenes for each faction in issue #1. However, it’s rather distracting for a big Transformers fan like myself.
Recommendation: To be honest, had THIS been my first comic introduction to the Transformers comic, I wouldn’t have been as excited. The Transformers talk so deliberate and stale. The art isn’t bad but isn’t as lively as it would be in later issues. However, there is a decent read somewhere underneath this. Still, I can only recommend it for completeness.
No, I’m not doing a second, deeper analysis of this issue like I did issue #1 last night.